Personal Emergency Fund
Adding $20 a week to an emergency fund amounts to $1,040 a year. In ten years, that is over $10,000. Seems like a lot of money to put away, doesn’t it? A study done at http://money.msn.com/now/what-americans-spend-on-lunch shows that the average person spends about $936 a year on eating out at lunch. That figure does not include breakfast on the road, coffee or snack runs, and soda. Brown bagging your lunch is not only healthier for you, but is an easy way to start an emergency fund. I challenge everyone for one week to keep track on money spent on eating out.

Business And Homeowner Insurance
I recommend talking to your insurance agent on what your policy covers. Or more importantly, what does your policy not cover. After the fact is not the time to discover you are not covered. Several years ago, I assumed my vehicle had full glass coverage. Then a side window blew up. I submitted an insurance claim that was denied. From that point on, I read my policy and called my agent at renewal time. It is important to have business information updated. If your business structure has changed and you have not notified your carrier, you may not be covered for anything even though you paid your premium. For example, if you started out as a sole proprietor and then changed to a Limited Liability Company (LLC).

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Once an area has been declared an emergency, FEMA steps in to respond and coordinate the recovery process. They will have local offices for home and business owners to file for financial assistance and low cost loans to rebuild. Their website is www.fema.gov. This website is filled with pertinent information from pre-planning to help after a disaster whether it is a natural, man-made, or an act of terrorism. The local and state governments through their Emergency Management Offices will work in conjunction with FEMA.

Red Cross
The Red Cross is a little different from most organizations as it is chartered by the United States Congress to “carry on a system of national and international relief in time of peace and apply the same in mitigating the sufferings caused by pestilence, famine, fire, floods, and other great national calamities, and to devise and carry on measures for preventing the same.”

The Red Cross provides immediate sheltering, food, and medical care for people affected by the disaster. They also are a means of communications between people inside a disaster zone and family members on the outside.
Every year, the Red Cross responds to over 70,000 disasters worldwide and relies on donations. For more information, visit www.redcross.org.

State Animal Response Teams (SART)
While it is the Red Cross’s responsibility to care for people during a disaster, it is the job of SART to care for any affected animals. SART will set up emergency sheltering and provide food and veterinary care. SART is made up of volunteers and depends on donations as well. Your local Emergency Management Office will have information on your local SART.

Groomers’ Emergency Assistance Fund (GEAF)
Ileana Nogueras started the GEAF. “Since Hurricane Sandy hit the US Eastern shore in 2012, I’ve been thinking about a better way to help groomers hit by this sort of tragedy. Then came the flooding in the Northeast and the tornadoes in Oklahoma. I knew then it was time to put my thoughts into action. That’s when the Groomers’ Emergency Assistance Fund was born.”

GEAF was created on July 4, 2013, with the purpose of having a centralized “location” to be of assistance to groomers in the USA that are facing hardships due to unforeseen, catastrophic circumstance.

The GEAF is a 501c3 charity and is governed by seven board members. The current board members are Ileana Nogueras, Daryl Conner, Judi Cantu Thacker, Ellen Erhlich, Dawn Omboy, Jennifer Walker, and Mary Oquendo. To learn more or to donate, visit their website at http://www.geaf2013.org and Facebook page at Groomers Emergency Assistance Fund.

Groomers For Groomers
Groomers For Groomers is headed up by Misty Gieczys, along with Betty Day, Lisa Leady, and Sandy Hartness. They started out as the Oklahoma Twister Relief For Groomers to help the groomers who lost so much in the twisters. They auctioned off over 200 items raising over $16,000.

“We want groomers to know we are there for them. Many of us have been paying it forward because the grooming community was there with words of encouragement, love and donations when we needed it. With a community behind you, your never truly alone and that’s what we want people to feel.”

They are in the process of applying for their 501c3 status. For more information or to make a donation, visit their Facebook page at Groomers For Groomers Fund.

While I hope you never have to use any of these resources, it is comforting to know that they are there for us